Shane McMahon started working in WWE when he was 15 years old. He initially worked in the warehouse, filling merchandise orders and mailing merchandise. After his father refused to give him a raise, he left WWE and started looking for a job. He eventually landed a construction job starting at $400 a week, triple what he used to earn at the WWE warehouse.
After he returned to WWE a few years later, he became serious about the family business. He accompanied his father to meetings, sat in production meetings, took notes, and even asked questions afterward. He learned the little details of the business from his father’s top lieutenant, former wrestler Pat Patterson. However, he also considered other career paths like architecture, investment banking, and even pro football.
In WWE, he worked in a number of divisions like television production, sales, marketing, and international business development. In 1989, he became WWF referee at the Survivor Series. He also refereed during the 1991 Royal Rumble match.
In August 1998, he became the inaugural color commentator for Sunday Night Heat, announcing along with Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, and Kevin Kelly. He even got to step up and announce at an episode of Monday Night Raw. However, critics believed that he was a mediocre commentator and could not make the commentary interesting.
In 1998, Shane McMahon helped in developing the company’s Digital Media Department, and created WWF.com, which in 2002 became WWE.com, turning the site into a major business platform for WWE.
In 1999, he became a key component in ‘The Corporation,’ winning the European Championship from X-Pac. In the same year, he fought with his father and a new faction called The Union. On one pilot for SmackDown!, he joined The Undertaker and the Ministry of Darkness to form the Corporate Ministry.
Throughout 1980s and 1990s, he dabbled with various roles in WWE with the hope that he would take over the business from his father like his father did from his grandfather. Unfortunately, it became apparent that his sister Stephanie and her husband Triple H were becoming more powerful, and he realized that the possibility of them become the apparent heirs was greater. Seeing himself out of the competition for a leadership position, he started looking for outside opportunities and also thought of forming his own independent wrestling organization.
In 2001, Shane feuded with his father once again, defeating him at WrestleMania X-Seven. As a businessman, his crowning moment came in March 2001, when he purchased long-time rival WCW, ending the ‘Monday Night War’ that was on throughout the 1990s.
He wanted to buy the slowly dying ECW and run it as a separate entity. Instead, his father bought ECW and let the promotion close down completely before reviving it under the banner of WWE. While Shane wanted to run ECW as an independent entity, his father made ECW a third WWE brand. Shane also tried to convince his father to buy UFC back in the early 2000s, and also Pride, a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company.
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In 2003, he became the Executive Vice President of WWE Global Media, and looked into international TV distribution, live event bookings, digital media, consumer products, and publishing.
He negotiated major WWE TV deals in England, Mexico, South America, and other countries around the globe, and these international agreements helped WWE grow faster.
In November 2007, he cracked a major TV deal to start the WWE television station to air Raw and SmackDown events. In September 2008, he finalized the TV deal, which allowed WWE programing to air on Mexico's two biggest television networks: Raw on Televisa and SmackDown on TV Azteca.
During his wrestling career, he defeated the Big Show and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, and fought Kevin Owens in a Hell in a Cell match. His other important victories include singles wins over WWE champions Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley.
In October 2009, he resigned from WWE; his resignation became effective from January 1, 2010. In August 2010, he became the CEO of China Broadband Inc., a provider of cable broadband services. He also sits on the Board of Directors for International Sports Management.
In 2010, he also became the CEO of You On Demand, the first VOD and the biggest pay-per-view service in China. YOU On Demand never actually made profits during the years Shane was its CEO. In July 2013, he voluntarily stepped down as CEO of YOU On Demand, and appointed Weikang Liu as his successor. He remained the company’s principal executive officer and chairman of the board.
He returned to WWE in February 2016 and faced The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 where he was defeated. He partly owns the Indian Larry Motorcycle Shop in Brooklyn, NY. In July 2016, he was appointed as the storyline commissioner of the SmackDown Live.